Ramaphosa expecting a report on vaccine mandates at NCCC meeting

Mandatory vaccines South Africa
Image credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is expecting a report on the possibility of the government introducing vaccine mandates in South Africa.

This report, which is expected from the task team he established to investigate the matter, would then be discussed at the next meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).

Report on vaccine mandates in South Africa expected

“The task team is meant to be active and when the NCCC meets, I’m expecting a report from the task team that we set up as well as a report from the Inter-Ministerial Committee,” Ramaphosa told journalists on Sunday (5 December) while travelling to Senegal for a working visit.

“There needs to be a report and I have said that I want this to happen very quickly because with the rising wave of infections, we need to act quickly so that the Cabinet can take a decision on this matter.

“Of course, it could all be slowed down by the intensity of consultations and talking to various sectors of our society, and if that is the report, [then] I’m willing to allow that to ensue.”

The question of whether or not to introduce mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 in South Africa has triggered intense debate – and the President said he has left it “open.”

‘I’ve left the question open’

He explained, “I’ve left the question open and said that I’d like a discussion to ensue in the country. We live in a country where people have a number of strong views, for and against, and my task as a leader is to nudge everyone in the same direction.”

Some large private companies, such as MTN and Standard Bank, have already announced vaccine mandates for their staff. However, civil society organisations such as AfriForum and Sakeliga have vowed to take legal action against the government if it implements such mandates.

“State coercion is and remains dangerous, regardless of its subject matter, and we should not be giving the government consent to use it in an increasingly expanded array of situations. Vaccine mandates are unjustifiable in a free society,” AfriForum’s head of policy Ernst Roets said.

The debate comes amid rising COVID-19 infections in the country reaching up to 16,000 daily cases in recent days, according to official statistics. Positivity rates have also risen sharply to around 24 percent.

In his weekly letter to the nation on Monday, Ramaphosa said he will convene an NCCC meeting soon to discuss the rising infections.

“We will soon be convening a meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council to review the state of the pandemic. This will enable us to take whatever further measures are needed to keep people safe and healthy,” he said.

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